backpacks, three children, three different backpack styles

Mother of All Working Mother Backpacks

I Eventually Found the Perfect One

How difficult is finding a stylish, practical bag that works for a working mother?

On a recent day trip out with our daughter, when I was unprepared for the British weather, I realised it was time to invest in a bag that would be the mother of all working mother bags.

I wanted a multi-purpose handbag, a laptop bag, and a day-out bag. After some consideration, I decided to shop for a stylish, practical leather backpack, and eventually, I found the mother of all working mother backpacks!

My decision to purchase a backpack was a solid and emotional one. I had weighed up the pros and cons. The handbag I had adored was showing wear and tear. It had been through the washing machine many times. As a mum, your handbag doubles as a rubbish bin, food caddy, shoe and coat holder, and many things have been spilt, creating stains that you know what they are. Others, you have no idea what they are and really do not want to know! 

I love my handbag; it is a trusty friend that has seen many a good day, except on days out with our daughter; it was not practical; it was spacious but quickly filled up, and things would get lost at the bottom of the bag.

On days out with our daughter, I was turning into the woman who held up the queue as I searched for my lost phone hidden under coats, water bottles, snacks and everything else my daughter did not want to carry or wear and on days like these the straps cut into my shoulder. 

The solution: I would find The Mother of All Working Mother Backpacks, and this would be easy, right? 

‘ I wanted The Mother of All Working Mother Backpacks; I was driving everyone around the bend!’

~ Kirsty van den Bulk

The backpack I dreamed of did not exist; they always seemed to be not quite right; bags were too bulky, straps were too thin and would cut in, extra pockets needed to be bigger, or there were not enough, to be honest, I got tired of looking, and my husbands got tired of receiving links, asking what do you think?

Over the past six months, I have had backpack envy. As a working mother, the constant change of bags from laptop to handbag has annoyed me. Invariably, I would leave something I wanted in one of the bags or be out for the day and find my handbag suitable for the day’s events. On days out, I looked on enviously as Mum hurried past me with stylish bags; I turned to the internet, looked at backpack upon backpack, and dreamed of backpacks.

I started the search in the January sales. As a savvy shopper, I always look for a bargain, and I knew I had plenty of time before the summer holidays, so time was not an issue; I did not mind waiting six months; I wanted to buy the best backpack I could that would suit my needs and wants and ensure the one I purchased would last a minimum of five years.

I looked online, went to Bicester Village, and looked at every style and price range. I discovered I preferred backpacks marketed and designed for men, which irritated me as a backpack is non-gender specific?

Backpack plane, worn by a child dressed as a pilot
My Perfect Backpack!

After browsing in shops and online for several months, I compiled a list of my requirements and considered factors such as price, quality, and manufacturing process. I wanted a leather laptop backpack/handbag that suited my budget, wants, and needs.

I had a specific list for my soon-to-be-purchased backpack. I was looking for a bag with a spacious compartment, separate from the laptop area, where I could easily store my daughter’s coat when she got too hot. Carrying two coats around my waist always made me too hot, and one would eventually fall off, leaving me with two coats to carry—one around my body and the other over my arm.

Additionally, I wanted a backpack with multiple pockets, preferably an anti-theft one, for occasional trips to London. The backpack also needed to have comfortable straps to avoid digging in, and it must be made of leather, available in brown, blue, or any colour except tan or black. Lastly, it had to have an inside pocket, one or two front zip pockets, and the ultimate feature—a water bottle holder; this was not easy to find!

‘A woman’s mind is as complex as the contents of her handbag; even when you get to the bottom of it, there is ALWAYS something at the bottom to surprise you!’

~ Billy Connolly

I had spent hours researching the perfect bag and was determined to buy it locally. My husband surprised me with an adorable backpack that met my requirements, but unfortunately, the inside zip was sticking.

Since my husband had bought it locally from the Oxford Chariot Leather shop, I returned to the shop to see if I could exchange it for the same bag. Unfortunately, they only had two in stock, both tan in colour. The problem was that the colour reminded me of an upset stomach, and since we had been dealing with this issue with our daughter for the past week, I could not bring myself to accept these “poop-inspired” backpacks.

However, I was determined to find something that met my needs. I looked around the shop and found The Mother of All Working Mother Backpacks! It was everything I was looking for, and the decision to exchange it took only two minutes. Although it was slightly more expensive than the one my husband had bought me, I knew it was worth it; it would see me through all my adventures as a working mother.

We Are All Shopping

You may wonder why I am writing a blog about buying a backpack, but we are all consumers or customers, and we all decide what we buy or do not buy. When selling your goods and services, it’s essential to be visible and accessible.

The Oxford Chariot Leather shop does not have a website, but they have a social media presence. I was able to check out their store on Instagram and Google business page before visiting in person; at the same time, I knew the shop was there, and unlike a B2B business that does not have a shop premises, I was able to visit their store, I was able to touch and feel the goods, and this is why I refer to a website as a department store for B2B businesses.

In B2B sales, your website is your selling space; you drive people from social media to your website to look at your goods or services. You cannot shout out in one social media post about all the incredible things you offer and the impact you make. Your website is where people find out about you; they read, research, and understand what you do; they check out your pricing and see if what you offer meets their needs, and your website is where they decide if they would like to work with you. With 80% of a sales cycle made without human interaction, your website The Mother of All Business Backpacks.

Selling goods and services is more challenging than selling the working mother of all backpacks. This means you must showcase who you are and the impact you make; you can do this by including your customer reviews, not as a testimonial page, but through the text on your website.

Think about how you shop and what influences your decision to purchase or walk away. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and navigate your website like a new customer. See the customer journey with fresh eyes and ask yourself if your website is effective. Does it assist customers in making decisions? Are you easy to work with? Do you think your transparency is enough? Would you pay for what you offer?

If you struggle to promote your goods and services online, look at my online course, ‘Rock Your Online Presence’ . If you are not a fan of online classes, get in touch. You can check out my services on all my pages, and I am always happy to create a bespoke solution to meet your needs.

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